Samuel Thomas Gill (1818-1880)
S.T.Gill as he is often now known, was born at Somerset, England, the son of Rev. Samuel Gill, Baptist minister, and educated at Plymouth in a school kept by his parents, and later at Dr Seabrook’s academy. His father taught him drawing and he was later employed in London as ‘Draftsman and Water Colour Painter’ by the Hubard Profile Gallery, an establishment which produced silhouettes.
He arrived in South Australia in 1839 and by March 1840 he had established a studio in Gawler Place, Adelaide, which was open from ‘eleven till dusk‘; he offered to produce portraits of human beings, horses and dogs, and to sketch houses and transfer the sketches ‘to paper suited for home conveyance‘. In 1846 he accompanied the expedition Horrocks which reached the head of Spencer Gulf.
In 1852 Gill travelled to the Victoria and in the next twenty years produced drawings, watercolours and lithographs of scenes of the Victorian and New South Wales gold fields. After 1870 Gill fell into obscurity and on 27 October 1880 he collapsed in Post Office Place, Melbourne, and was found to be dead when taken to hospital.
Gill’s legacy is a large body of work which portrayed life during the greatest gold boom the world had seen.